Friday Lunch

Every Friday for the past 20 years, Dad has gone to lunch at the same restaurant. It began as a ritual following Mom's hair appointment and we continued to carry on the tradition after she died. Dad lives for Fridays. He may not remember what he did 3 minutes ago, or 3 months ago, or 3 years ago, but he always remembers lunch on Friday at Dayton's. (Okay, so it's not called Dayton's anymore, but he doesn't remember that either.)

Today is was -4⁰ and I had to decide whether or not I should bundle Dad up and bring him out into the elements.  I weighed braving the frigid temperature against the pleasure this outing would bring him and came to the conclusion that 5 minutes of discomfort was worth 2 hours of happiness. Yes, it would have been much easier to stay home. Then again, I bet it would have been easier for Dad to stay home than attend all those orchestra concerts, ballet performances and piano recitals he was subjected to over the years. It's payback time.

Dad couldn't feed himself today and he wasn't able to carry on a conversation, but I managed to get him to smile; twice. Was it worth it? Yes. I suppose that's a testament to how far he has declined; the fact that I consider a smile such a triumph. But, trust me, it is.

After I brought him home and got him situated, I kissed him on the forehead and turned to leave.  He reached for my hand to stop me and formed his first full sentences of the day:
"What day is it?"
"It's Friday, Dad."
"Oh. Are we going out to lunch?"


As I walked out to my car, a woman was bringing her mother into the building. I tried to catch her eye to give her a smile, but she was preoccupied. As she came closer, I understood why. Her mom was crying and repeating, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no."

I was suddenly overcome with the urge to scream at the top of my lungs, "Enough is enough!  God, where the hell are You?!  WHERE, WHERE, WHERE???"  I actually almost did it. I had to grit my teeth to keep the words from flying out of my mouth.

Fortunately, I regained my composure, which is good for two reasons.  First, I didn't want to scare anyone or cause a heart attack and, secondly, I'd hate for people to think I was losing my mind.  They have some vacancies they're trying to fill here and I'd just as soon fly under the radar for a few more decades.

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